Valentina Diurno | Mérieux NutriSciences Italy

HOW QUALITY PROTECTION AND FRAUD REPRESSION WORKS IN ITALY

quality protection and fraud repression italy

Let’s learn more the ICQRF - the Italian Department of the Central Inspectorate for the protection of the quality and repression of fraud of food products.

The Central Inspectorate for the protection of quality and fraud prevention of agri-food products (hereinafter ICQRF) established in 1986, is the official control body of the Italian Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry Policies, operating throughout the national territory and is one of the largest European agri-food control bodies.

                                

ICQRF STRUCTURE

The ICQRF plays a central role for the protection of consumers, food safety and for the protection of producers from unfair competition through the fight against food fraud and, more generally, through actions to prevent and combat offenses.

The fight against offenses is expressed through an articulated organizational network structured as follows:

  • centrally, in two Directorates General with the supervisory function for the recognition of control and certification bodies and consumer protection;
  • at a territorial level in 29 inspection offices that carry out operational activities along all stages of the supply chains (production, transformation, storage, transport and trade). The inspections are carried out through physical and documentary checks, aimed at verifying the qualitative conformity, traceability and correctness of the information contained in the labeling and presentation of the products;
  • to which are added 6 EU-accredited laboratories, which perform thousands of analytical checks in the sector per year, verifying the actual qualitative and quantitative composition of the products collected during the inspections.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

The control activities implemented by the ICQRF are the result of an annual planning, based on various factors: economic relevance of the various product sectors, characteristics of the production and commercial organization of the different supply chains, product introduction flows from Member States and from non-EU countries, trends in production and market prices, without forgetting the historically established offenses.

At the national level, the ICQRF implements the following activities:

  • Controls on the quality, genuineness and identity of agri-food products and technical means of agricultural production (seeds, feed, fertilizers and phytosanitary products) aimed at the prevention and repression of fraud and offenses, of an essentially commodity nature
  • Recognition of the control and certification structures (private control bodies and local competent authorities) operating in the field of regulated quality production (PDO, PGI foodstuffs, wines with designation of origin and geographical indication, food from organic farming) ;
  • Supervisory functions on the control structures operating in the field of regulated quality production (PDO, PGI food products, wines with designation of origin and geographical indication, food from organic farming, beef and poultry with optional labeling in addition to the mandatory one). The supervision of the control structures involves the verification of the possession and maintenance by these structures of the required requirements, the correct application of the control plan, the existence of transparency, impartiality and impartiality towards all the subjects involved in the control ( the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces also operate in this context);
  • Imposition of administrative pecuniary sanctions in agricultural and agri-food matters of state competence. The competent authority for the imposition of administrative pecuniary sanctions provided for by Legislative Decree 231/2007 is the Department of the Central Inspectorate for the protection of quality and fraud repression of agri-food products of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. For the assessment and imposition of sanctions, the procedure provided for by Law 689/1981 applies, as well as the procedure provided for by Legislative Decree 91/2014.

At a European and global level, the ICQRF is at the forefront of defending quality made in Italy products in all European countries, fighting counterfeits outside the EU borders, even with cooperation agreements.

In recent years, the need for control has emerged for e-commerce sites, which are increasingly used as a sales channel by Italian companies in the agri-food sector. The ICQRF therefore also carries out checks on the web for the protection of Italian quality productions, entering into agreements with the main global e-commerce players.

 

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